COASTLAND CONTINUES TO BLOCK STORMWATER SOLUTIONS email to owners 8.6.18

By now you are aware of the unusual weather event we have confronted here in Corolla. We experienced significant flooding throughout the Ocean Sands community.  It was caused by 14 inches of rain from late Saturday, July 21 to Wednesday, August 1. Yes, 11 days of rain, which inundated the community, saturated the sand, overflowed the lake, and overwhelmed the Waste Treatment Plant. 

We can’t and won’t blame Coastland Corporation for the rain. However, Coastland is directly responsible for continuing to block progress on a permanent flood mitigation system for the whole community after ignoring this serious issue for 40 years. Here are some examples of Coastland’s failures contributing to our on-going flooding problems:

FAILED TO MAINTAIN DITCHES, SWALES AND CULVERTS:  It is Coastland’s responsibility, being in control of the Ocean Sands Property Owners Association (OSPOA), to determine what maintenance work is to be done and when. Coastland chose not to maintain the drainage ditches, swales, and culverts in Ocean Sands.

  • Coastland appears not to have complied with the requirements of the state-issued stormwater permit for Section O, Ocean Lakes.  This may have contributed to the inundation of the sewer plant with floodwater that resulted in raw sewage backing up into several homes in Sections K & P, as well as sewage coming out of the manhole covers in multiple areas.  
  • It took county contractors two hours to clear the culvert under Ocean Lake Trail (near Pampas Court) in order to run hoses to the ocean. That effort delayed pumping from the HIJO Lake by several hours.
  • Coastland did not maintain the culverts under Driftwood, Mariner and Sea Mist in the northern section of Ocean Sands. This contributes to the standing water still on the streets and the swales not flowing. 
  • Coastland nixed a plan developed by Coastal Engineering a number of years ago to relieve flooding on Sea Oats Court and under the multifamily units in Section F because it did not want to allow discharge in the open space.
  • The lack of maintenance of the swales, ditches and culverts have resulted in damage to our roads. Stormwater sitting on the roads has caused an increase in potholes and sinkholes.  Many road intersections are crumbling due to flood waters eroding the sand and gravel supporting them. Stormwater also seeps into the many cracks in the roads.
  • The major flooding events over the last several years have advanced the “day of reckoning” for road replacement. The OSPOA currently has minimal dollars in the Capital Replacement Fund to pay for this project.

FAULTY COMMUNICATIONS: Coastland had Signature Touch send several update emails that made it appear Coastland saved the day by pumping.  In fact, neither Coastland nor Signature Touch had anything to do with it.  Emergency Pumping to the ocean is solely the responsibility of the “Stormwater” Service District Advisory Board working with Currituck County.  The only thing Coastland did was sign an agreement allowing access for emergency pumping across the open space this one timeCoastland rejected the “hold harmless agreement” presented by the County (drafted by a leading local business law firm), and instead, sent back an agreement it signed, in which it inserted onerous additional requirements. We are at a loss to know how there could be a material loss to Coastland from running hose down streets and over open space. 

FAILED TO TRANSFER OPEN SPACES TO OSPOA: Coastland deeded the open space in Crown Point to the Crown Point POA years ago. This has not been done for Ocean Sands! It is unheard of anywhere in the country for a HOA or POA to not have control over its own open space and private roads.  There is no valid benefit to Coastland other than being able to exert leverage on other community or county initiatives.  OSPOA, with your dues money, pays for the maintenance of open space and roads even though Coastland continues to own them.  
FAILURE TO ADVANCE A PERMANENT SOLUTION FOR FLOODING PROBLEMS: You may recall how, last year, Coastland refused to allow access to open space to place test wells and piezometers on the open space and undeveloped areas that were needed to get the hydrology data crucial to the design of a system.  The Advisory Board worked around this by finding owner volunteers who allowed placement in their yards.  Coastland has sued the County over formation of the Stormwater Service District and has kept the suit pending even though a court has already ruled against Coastland on the key issue – finding that formation of the service district was valid. Conceptual design of a permanent solution, involving wells, pump stations and piping throughout the community with an outlet to the Sound, has been completed.  Further progress is blocked until Coastland drops its specious lawsuit and allows access to open space, rights-of-way and under roads. This solution is beneficial to Coastland’s undeveloped properties, so it is hoped that they will get on board soon. Emergency Pumping is not the long term solution for these intense rain events.

Not only is there the property damage to homes, and the economic losses associated with refunded and cancelled vacation renters, but standing water is full of nasty bacteria and causes the mosquito population to soar.  It breaks our hearts to watch people march their young kids through a foot of polluted water on their way to the beach.

You may research and learn all the details of flooding in the Short History of Stormwater email recently sent out by the Stormwater Advisory Board. It also is posted on our owner website here: A Short History of Flooding In Ocean Sands and Crown Point

It’s high time that Coastland’s control of OSPOA ends.  Continued Coastland control will only bring more negative consequences to owners, as it has for the last 40+ years.

The Governance Committee

Rick, Al, Dennis, Jeanne, Greg, Chris, Jim, Robert

IF YOU HAVE SENT IN YOUR WRITTEN CONSENT FORM TO AMEND THE DECLARATION – THANK YOU! IF NOT, PLEASE DO SO NOW. CLICK IN THE YELLOW FIELD BELOW FOR THE REQUIRED FORM AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

WRITTEN CONSENT TO AMEND THE DECLARATION

AND CHECK WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS TO BE SURE THEY HAVE  SENT IN THEIR FORM

Copyright © 2018
Home Owners Of Ocean Sands Governance Committee
All rights reserved

Visit our website: http://www.oshoa.org
Send us an email: admin@oshoa.org

Join us on Facebook: Home Owners Of Ocean Sands
Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 56, Corolla, NC 27927

MEET THE GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE TO LEARN WHY THINGS MUST CHANGE email to owners 11.20.2018

This email is to all Ocean Sands North owners who have not yet signed the Written Consent to Amend the Declarations. The Meet and Greet weekends have been so successful that we want to offer one last opportunity this year for owners to ask questions of the Governance Committee in person.

This written consent is a legal method under the NC Planned Community Act of 1999 to wrest control of any POA from the Developer. In our case, this process will remove Coastland’s authority to appoint three of the five OSPOA board seats. All Board members will be owner elected. As it stands, because of the Declaration, the developer, Coastland Corporation, has complete decision making over every aspect of our Ocean Sands community.

For the last three years, we have sent numerous emails and letters explaining why the owners should be in control of their own community. Control means having your vote count when deciding significant issues in Ocean Sands. Control means having a say in how your dues money is spent. Control means deciding the priority of the many necessary tasks that could and should improve Ocean Sands.

If you would like to chat one on one with a member of the Governance Committee, we will be available on Saturday, November 24 at the COROLLA PUBLIC LIBRARY from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The Library is the white building on the right on Rt. 12 just north of the lighthouse, 1123 Ocean Trail.  We are providing a free notary. There will be light snacks and refreshments.

Please reply to this email if you can drop by. No formal presentation, just owners talking to owners. If your schedule suddenly changes, come on by anyway. If you would like to speak to a Governance Committee member separately, please reply to this email.

The Governance Committee
Al, Rick, Jeanne, Greg, Robert, Chris, Jim, and Dennis

Copyright © 2018
Home Owners Of Ocean Sands Governance Committee
All rights reserved

Visit our website: http://www.oshoa.org
Send us an email: admin@oshoa.org

Join us on Facebook: Home Owners Of Ocean Sands

Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 56, Corolla, NC 27927

SHORT HISTORY OF FLOODWATER MANAGEMENT IN OCEAN SANDS & CROWN POINT

This is for those of you who may be new to the community, or want a refresher on stormwater and flood mitigation in Ocean Sands and Crown Point.  You can find tons of historical background information on the initiative to solve the flooding problem in the “FILES” on our closed Facebook page “Corolla Stormwater” 

If you don’t do Facebook, can find the info at:  http://oshoa.org/category/flooding/

We have a Service District (an official unit of County government) that manages all matters related to flooding and flood mitigation.  The geographical boundaries of the service district include Ocean Sands North, Crown Point and certain areas adjacent to Crown Point and on the west side of Route 12 across from sewer plant.  As such, the Ocean Sands and Crown Point POA’s are not involved in flood mitigation except to the extent they may encourage practices that help the flooding situation, such as rain gardens, swales, and permeable surfaces.

1973 – 2013.   For the first 40 years that Coastland was in control of Ocean Sands, nothing was done (or required) about the flooding problem.    As more properties were developed, Rt. 12 was paved, the Harris Teeter went in, etc., the problem became progressively worse because we sit in a “bowl” between the dunes and Rt. 12..  For a summary of problem, see:  http://oshoa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/FINAL-Stormwater-Presentation-4.6.16.pdf

2014 – Community Demands that Flooding be Addressed. The community resolved to form a “stormwater committee” at the 2014 Annual Meeting.  Starting in May 2014 a committee of 14 homeowners in Ocean Sands and Crown Point, several Coastland participants and Eric Weatherly, the County Engineer, met monthly to develop a plan to solve the community’s flooding problem.  The mission & key objectives of the Stormwater Committee were as follows:

  • First, to determine the reasons why our two Northern Outer Banks communities are experiencing the levels and constancy of floods.
  • Second, to identify any potential solutions that address all aspects – topographic, land use, regulatory, technical, fiscal, as well as political constraints.
  • Third, to determine the optimal resolution which takes into account the cost and financing aspects, the engineering challenges, government regulations and the needs of all constituencies.
  • Fourth, provide property owners with a full understanding of all aspects of this very complex yet recurring multi-community problem.

The engineering firm of Moffatt & Nichols was hired to do a feasibility study, which was presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting, outlining options for flood mitigation systems and potential costs.  This study was paid for using your homeowner dues; Coastland bore none of the costs.  Link to M&N study:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/jj7hit87knz84o6/20150615%20OCEAN%20SANDS%20FINAL%20REPORT.pdf?dl=0

As the ensuing months went by, it became clear to the homeowner committee members that Coastland was unwilling to move forward to solve the problem as it continued to stall on all issues and wouldn’t even commit to granting access to open space for system construction.  The homeowner members continued to send out numerous educational e-mails and determined that the only way to solve the problem was to work around Coastland and develop a plan to obtain owner buy-in to support the creation of a governmental service district.  The committee even did a YouTube video to “sell” the service district approach. https://vimeo.com/161797335?utm_source=email&utm_medium=vimeo-cliptranscode-201504&utm_campaign=29220

2016 – Formation of “Stormwater” Service District.  A “tax service district” is a subdivision of County government created at the request of affected property owners and administered publicly by the County Commissioners sitting as the Board of the Service District, with guidance and input from an advisory board consisting of property owners. This is the same way the Ocean Sands Water & Sewer District operates.  Another way to think of it is as a vehicle to raise funds to pay for the studies, design, construction, and ongoing operation and maintenance of the flood mitigation system.  The taxes are added to your property tax bill.  County professionals manage the long-term operation and maintenance of the system once it is constructed.  This is what the Whalehead community has done to mitigate their flooding.

Barbara Marzetti took the lead in orchestrating a survey via SurveyMonkey to measure community support for the service district (thanks to the Governance Committee for use of its email list) and in presenting the case to the Commissioners at the Public Hearing.  Other key presenters at the hearing were Ed Pence, Linda Garczynski and Gerri Adams.  Braxton Hill represented Coastland in opposition to formation of the district.  Following the testimony, the Commissioners voted unanimously to form the district, with one of the Commissioners commenting to Braxton Hill: “Coastland has had 40 years to do something about the problem and has done absolutely nothing.”

The Ocean Sands North and Crown Point Service District for Watershed Improvement was thus established by Currituck County in May 2016, effective July 1, 2016.  A citizen Advisory Board was appointed by the County Commissioners.  The current members are Ed Pence, Barbara Marzetti, Gerri Adams, Linda Garczynski, Al Marzetti, and Bryan Daggett (short bios can be found on the oshoa.org site).  Braxton Hill, representing Coastland, was originally on the Advisory Board but resigned.

In July 2016, the Advisory Board sent out a Request for Qualifications to over 30 Engineering firms.  After a rigorous vetting process, 3 firms were chosen to interview with the Advisory Board on September 9, 2016 and Albemarle & Associates, Ltd. of Kitty Hawk, NC was selected to do the “Phase 1” work, which included completion of the necessary hydrology testing, assistance in the development of an Emergency Pumping Plan, development of a Report providing recommendations for stormwater management (i.e., Conceptual System Design) and recommendations for potential “quick hit” actions that could be taken to help alleviate the problem while the overall system was being constructed.

2017 – Hydrology Testing, Coastland Lawsuit and Development of Emergency Pumping Plan.  The Advisory Board put in countless hours of work on the Emergency Pumping Plan, which was completed in September 2017 and submitted to the NC Department of Environmental Quality for approval.  While formal approval is still pending, the State indicated that the Plan could be used while approval was pending.  As such, it was used for these current storms and greatly accelerated the time needed to obtain a permit to pump floodwater to the ocean.  Note that Emergency Pumping is designed to pump out streets and not water under every home.  It is not a substitute for a comprehensive flood mitigation system and, it is extremely expensive Hydrology testing began in late 2016 and extended into 2017 due to the need to obtain groundwater data over a 12 – 18 month period.  This could be accomplished only because of the cooperation of numerous homeowners who allowed piezometers and test wells to be placed in their yards, as Coastland refused to grant access to open space for this purpose.  Luckily, Crown Point had already broken free of Coastland control, as use of Crown Point open space was crucial to this process.

Shortly after formation of the Service District, Coastland filed a lawsuit against the County claiming that the formation of the service district was invalid, demanding that its undeveloped properties be excluded from the service district and demanding damages for being included (i.e., reimbursement of the very nominal taxes that Coastland must pay).  A Court has already ruled that formation of the service district was valid, but the other claims still remain outstanding.

2018 – Albemarle & Associates Report & Recommendations.  The Report & Recommendations for Stormwater Management has been completed in draft and Albemarle & Associates is currently addressing comments from the Advisory Board and the County Engineer.  It is expected that the Report will be finalized in August of this year.  In very general terms, the Report recommends pump stations be strategically located throughout the community (based on the results of the hydrology testing) with variable speed pumps that can be fine-tuned to maintain groundwater at optimum levels.  Each of the pump stations would be fed by 5 to 7 shallow wells connected to the pump and interconnected to an underground conveyance system.  In advance of a major storm, the pumps could be “cranked up” to further lower groundwater so as to allow for greater soil absorption capability.  Ultimately, the water stormwater/groundwater would be discharged into Currituck Sound in a permitted fashion.  Once the report is finalized, we will have a better idea of potential system costs and tax rate impacts.

Following finalization of the Report & Recommendations, normally we would immediately proceed to the Detailed Engineering Design phase.  However, at this time, no further progress can be made as Coastland’s lawsuit is still pending and Coastland hasn’t granted access to its open space and undeveloped properties for system construction.  We believe that a solid case has been presented to Coastland as to why it makes economic sense for Coastland to cooperate in the development of a global solution.  We are hopeful that Coastland sees the merits and advantages of this global system (e.g., development of Section G cannot happen without flood mitigation and a stand-alone system for Section G is not viable) and will be able to sort out its issues with the County in the near future.  This can be a win-win for everybody.  We are optimistic that Coastland will get on board but, until they do, we are stymied from making any future progress.

Once again, more details can be found on the ‘Corolla Stormwater’ Facebook Page and at http://oshoa.org/category/flooding/

If you have further questions please direct them to the Advisory Board at: OceanSandsStormwater@gmail.com

A Response to Coastland’s Letter to Owners …from an owner

Many of you received a letter from Coastland Corp dated November 22, and full of misinformation and inaccuracies. One owner, shared his response to Coastland on our Home Owners of Ocean Sands Facebook Group. With his permission, we share it with you here.
Thanks to Andy and to all of you who have shown your support and sent in your written consent forms to amend the declaration,
The Home Owners of Ocean Sands Governance Committee

“To Jeanne Marcinko and the Coastland Corporation – (and Home Owners of Ocean Sands)

Your recent communications to the Homeowners of Ocean Sands are deceptive and far off the mark. I am not sure if you are just naive, doing the bidding of your owners, or too recent an employee to know. I would have though 10 years would have educated you.

My wife and I have been “non-resident” owners for over 25 years and fully endorse the efforts of the Governance Committee. There are more non-resident “Dissident Owners” than residents. Up until about 10 years ago we rented during the summer rental season, but then stopped when the headaches became too great. We now get to our house as frequently as we can and will spend more time there after retirement.

Over those 25 years we have never seen evidence that Coastland had any serious interest in the owners, it has always been about what’s best for Coastland. This goes back to the original association by-laws which give Coastland the majority of the Board members until EVERY lot is sold. This is the most restrictive and controlling provision I have ever encountered (and I have served on two other home owner’s boards). The 3 controlling Coastland Board members have continually denied the 2 home owner Board members access to financial information, to the extent the current home owner members have had to go to Court to try to obtain the information necessary to perform their fiduciary responsibilities to the home owners. Contracts are signed with outside management companies, security firms, and others without home owner input. It not clear there is any open solicitation of bids for work to be done or evaluation of proposed contracts as Coastland does not share that information with owners.

As an example, the current Coastland Vice President and local representative’s son holds both the contract for security services ($61,550) as well as the contract for Trash Can Roll back ($24,840). Is this a bit of nepotism or were these contracts put out for bid and fairly competed? We don’t know because Coastland has not shared the information with our Board representatives. I could go on with other examples from over the years. Rick and Al our Board members and the Governance Committee have shared many other examples and reasons why Coastland has clearly demonstrated a disdain for the home owners and treated us as indentured servants.

Coastland tries to make an argument that they have saved us money and it will cost more going forward without them in control. First, I am not convinced that’s true as they have not been open with their books, secondly I am tired of being treated as a child where Coastland knows better, and finally, even if there is some added expense WE the OWNERS will be in control of our Community!

I encourage all owners to return their signed and notarized ballots to enable we the owners to take control of our association and end the patronization of Coastland.

Andy Bates
Connie Rubler
Columbia, MD”

If you are a homeowner in Ocean Sands North and have not joined our closed, owner-only Facebook Group, search for "Home Owners of Ocean Sands" on Facebook, and ask to join. If we have your contact information, we will approve you as a member of the group. If we do NOT have your contact information, please send it to us at admin@oshoa.org

Update from the Ocean Sands and Crown Point Stormwater Committee

Ocean Sands & Crown Point Stormwater Committee

Dear Friends & Neighbors,It’s been awhile since we wrote to you and we were hoping to have better news.  But, we must once again report another instance of Coastland’s intransigence and ill will towards the community.  As described below, we will likely need assistance from various homeowners to allow temporary test wells to be drilled on their properties in order to move forward in developing a solution to the recurring flooding problems.  We need to start now to capture winter water table levels.

Status of Albemarle Engineering Services Contract.   We finalized the contract with Albemarle & Associates in early November.  Albemarle worked with us in a very constructive manner to develop an agreement that came within the budgetary constraints stemming from the cost of Hurricane Matthew ocean pumping.   As you may recall, the District spent $81,000 on ocean pumping; this was not a contingency that was taken into account in developing the 2016-17 budget & tax rate.  We were, however, able to structure the agreement for the first phase of work to stay within our available funding without comprising the initial work (i.e., hydrology and testing) that needed to be done upfront.
In October, the Advisory Board requested that Braxton Hill obtain approval from James Johnson to drill test wells and install piezometers on the open space and undeveloped areas, subject to a “hold harmless” agreement to protect Coastland.

Coastland’s Refusal to Co-operate…Again.   We believed that we had a good plan for moving forward with the initial testing … but, then, in its usual fashion, Coastland threw a monkey wrench into it.  At the end of last year, Coastland sent a letter to the County at 5:30 p.m. on the Friday before New Years’ Eve (included below) that essentially said that Coastland wasn’t going to cooperate with any aspect of stormwater planning unless the County could answer why inclusion of the Coastland/Johnson undeveloped properties in the Service District made economic sense for Coastland/Johnson.   If one reads the letter closer, it appears essentially to be a petulant demand that the County remove these sections (e.g., Section G) from the Service District because the District was formed without Coastland’s approval.

Eric Weatherly, the County Engineer, promptly responded with a short e-mail briefly outlining the benefits to Coastland/Johnson.  In reply to Eric, Coastland sent an e-mail on January 6 simply reiterating most of the points in their December 30 letter.  Al Marzetti then replied (included below) to Coastland’s January 6th e-mail trying to explain how and why it was a “no-brainer” for Coastland to cooperate as Coastland/Johnson are currently paying only ~$10,000 a year in tax and will get a stormwater mitigation solution for its undeveloped properties at a bargain price.  If, for example, Section G was excluded from the District, stand-alone stormwater mitigation which would be required at the time that property is developed, would be far more expensive.  (Also, it’s important to note that, if Section G were removed, we wouldn’t have a service district, because the law requires all property in the district to be contiguous.)

The Advisory Board next met on January 20, 2017 and it was once again explained to Braxton Hill that it was important that testing begin immediately due to the need to capture water table levels during the winter.  We assured Braxton that (1) a suitable “hold harmless” agreement would be provided to Coastland, (2) the test wells are very small, and (3) we would provide pictures of test wells, piezometers and the equipment needed to place them so that Mr. Johnson could see what would activity would take place on his undeveloped parcels and open space – which, by the way, Coastland tells us is dedicated to the exclusive use of OSPOA.

Mr. Hill committed to get back to the Advisory Board with an answer by the following Tuesday.  It is now almost 2 weeks beyond the date.  Despite repeated requests and follow-up, we continue to get no response.

You may recall that, for over two years, the question of access to open space has been posed to Coastland and they steadfastly refuse to provide an answer.   The current request doesn’t even relate to actual construction … it’s just some little test wells and monitoring equipment to be placed on a temporary basis.  After testing is completed, Mr. Johnson’s undeveloped parcels and the open space will be returned to its original condition.

It is imperative to get this work done now or we will lose another year before we can start to deal with the flooding problem.  Apparently, Mr. Johnson fails to appreciate the people who invested in his developments in Ocean Sands and Crown Point and is unconcerned with the potential for them to suffer additional loss in the future.

Our “Plan B” – Bypass Coastland. The Advisory Board anticipated that there was a high probability that Coastland would once again filibuster… because that is what they always do.  So, at the January 20 meeting, we developed a back-up plan to place test wells in the right-of-way and in owners’ yards.   It is likely that we will have to move forward with this plan and we will be asking some owners for permission to drill a temporary test well on their property.   Attached is a map showing where Albemarle’s proposed testing locations.  If your property is adjacent to one of these locations, we will follow up with you to get your approval, and if you are willing to help, it would be fantastic!!”.  A “hold harmless” agreement from the County will be provided.

While this “Plan B” is not perfect from an engineering standpoint — as we will not be able to get key data from Section G and other undeveloped areas – it may be serviceable.  The alternative is losing another year and, if past history is any guide, Coastland still won’t be amenable to helping the community out next year either.

We strongly encourage you to write to Coastland at info@Coastlandcorp.com and let them know that they need to cooperate with this project for the good of the community … and for their own good!


December 30, 2016

Eric Weatherly, County Engineer
County of Currituck
153 Courthouse Road, Suite 302
Currituck, NC 27929
Re: Stormwater District

Eric:

James Johnson is still out of the office recovering from his surgery; however, Coastland has expressed these concerns about the stormwater district.

The County has included Sections G, R, X, Y and U in the stormwater district. All of these are undeveloped properties with the limited exception of Section R which has a single structure.

What useful purpose to James Johnson and Coastland will this serve by having these properties in the district at this time? Please explain this fully.

What benefit will these properties derive from paying the additional taxes and being in the district at this time as opposed to later when they are developed? Please explain this fully.
Does the County intend to use these properties or any property owned by James Johnson or Coastland for the benefit of the County or other properties and if so, how so?

Are any improvements contemplated now on these sections that will benefit these sections when they are developed? Why could not these improvements be deferred and additional taxes be deferred until the properties are developed? How does it benefit James Johnson and Coastland to pay additional taxes now?
If the County plans on using any of James Johnson’s or Coastland’s property, a permit or easement will have to be granted by James Johnson and/or Coastland before the County gets on the property. To the extent Coastland provides open space for stormwater facility use in the developed sections and/or as – yet undesignated space in the undeveloped sections, if such use subsequently interferes with Coastland’s future intended use of such space, in Coastland’s sole and exclusive opinion, the District shall remove, at its expense, and relocate, at its expense, such facilities.

The new Commissioners should be aware that the County has previously used James Johnson’s and/or Coastland’s property without permission or permit. We will not tolerate this to continue.

Any investigation needed to make sure that James Johnson and/or Coastland is fully protected should not be a James Johnson and/or Coastland expense.
It appears that you want my land, my tax money but get nothing out of this.

Please reply to these concerns at your earlies convenience.

Thank you.

Coastland Corporation

cc: Dan Scanlon, County Manager
Currituck County Board of Commissioners
Ocean Sands North and Crown Point Stormwater Advisory Board


January 9, 2017
Dear Coastland, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Hill,

I am responding to email dated January 6, 2017 from info@Coastlandcorp.com.  I am writing in my capacity as a member of the Ocean Sands POA Board, and not on behalf of the County.  First of all, I am once again dismayed by the spitefulness of your communications.

In any event, this is to answer your question.  It is pretty elementary and does not require a separate study, as it is a matter of common sense.

The amount of annual tax paid to the Stormwater District by Coastland is just over $10,000 (see attached Excel schedule).  In the grand scheme of things, this is a small amount and provides huge value to Coastland.  The value of G, R & U will be greatly enhanced with a functioning stormwater mitigation system, as a sizable cost will be avoided when those properties are developed.  G & R (and, probably, U) will not be able to be developed without the construction of a stormwater mitigation system – and a couple of retention ponds is not going to do the trick.  Economies of scale dictate that it would be far cheaper to accomplish that as part of a global system incorporating all of Ocean Sands North and Crown Point than to do it later on a piecemeal, stand-alone basis – particularly when the homeowners are paying a disproportionate share of the costs.

Most likely, a stormwater mitigation system will also enhance the value of X & Y.  But even if it doesn’t, the inclusion of X & Y is critical to increasing the value of G, R & U because, for a system to be effective, access to the Sound is critical.  As you are aware, Ocean Sands North & Crown Point are in a bowl and it is necessary to get the water out of that bowl to the Sound.  This has been the objective of every stormwater mitigation system constructed in Corolla (e.g., Whalehead, Corolla Light) and the Ocean Sands Feasibility Study by Moffat & Nichol.

I weary of the typical Coastland response of always having to get a separate, independent study … which is a great delaying tactic and always seems to get charged to the POA.  What would such a study even tell you?  Coastland has Braxton Hill as its representative on the Advisory Board and the Advisory Board selected the engineering firm that Braxton was in favor of for this project.  This is another reason why Coastland does not need an independent study to protect its interest.   I should note that charging the cost any such study to the Ocean Sands POA will likely result in a lawsuit for breach of fiduciary duty.  And I also don’t think it’s appropriate or useful for the District to bear such a cost.

I also find it disconcerting that Coastland continues to threaten trespass particularly when the OSPOA is the beneficial owner of the open space.  I think there’s a fair chance that a court would find that Coastland’s bare legal title to the open space is not meaningful from the standpoint of property rights.  In any event, putting test wells in place on a temporary basis would clearly not be an unreasonable and unnecessary taking of property.  It is both reasonable and necessary to drill test wells to determine the most efficient system that will benefit both Coastland’s and the homeowners’ properties.  How can there be a taking of property when there is no diminution in the value of the property?  Also, the open space is maintained by the POA (which also pays the taxes) and is dedicated for the enjoyment of the homeowners.  Makes no legal sense at all.

With respect to Section G, what economic harm could possibly accrue to Coastland from the drilling of test wells, particularly if there are assurances that the property will be restored to its original state once the test wells are no longer needed?  These assurances could easily be memorialized in an easement.  As noted above, it is in Coastland’s interest to have a stormwater mitigation system put in place for Section G — and, at ~$10,000 a year, that is a phenomenal bargain to Coastland!  Additionally, it would help insulate Coastland from damage claims from owners on the north side of F with respect to drainage from Section G onto their properties.

Coastland has taken so much out of the community and the POA over the years, it is only right that it puts something back into it.  Let’s work together to solve this problem before more property losses are incurred by the people who have supported your business.

Yours truly,
Al Marzetti


Update on Stormwater Plan

POSTED ON COROLLA STORMWATER FACEBOOK 1/2/17

The engineers we’ve hired to work on our stormwater plan have come up with locations for the test wells and other data gathering instruments that they need to proceed. The County sent a letter to Coastland & the advisory board on December 13, 2016 asking for approval of the plan and locations & permission to proceed since some of the test areas were on common area controlled by Coastland or on Coastland/Johnson-owned property.

The first reply was from their attorney/VP on December 21st informing us that Mr. Johnson had had surgery & was medicated so was unable to reply. After a second email from the county on December 21st, this was the reply:

Coastland Corporation
P.O. Box 1717
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Telephone 757-422-9111
info@coastlandcorp.com

December 30, 2016

Eric Weatherly, County Engineer
County of Currituck
153 Courthouse Road, Suite 302
Currituck, NC 27929

Re: Stormwater District

Eric:
James Johnson is still out of the office recovering from his surgery; however, Coastland has expressed these concerns about the stormwater district.

The County has included Sections G, R, X, Y and U in the stormwater district. All of these are undeveloped properties with the limited exception of Section R which has a single structure.

What useful purpose to James Johnson and Coastland will this serve by having these properties in the district at this time? Please explain this fully.

What benefit will these properties derive from paying the additional taxes and being in the district at this time as opposed to later when they are developed? Please explain this fully.

Does the County intend to use these properties or any property owned by James Johnson or Coastland for the benefit of the County or other properties and if so, how so?

Are any improvements contemplated now on these sections that will benefit these sections when they are developed? Why could not these improvements be deferred and additional taxes be deferred until the properties are developed? How does it benefit James Johnson and Coastland to pay additional taxes now?

If the County plans on using any of James Johnson’s or Coastland’s property, a permit or easement will have to be granted by James Johnson and/or Coastland before the County gets on the property.

To the extent Coastland provides open space for stormwater facility use in the developed sections and/or as – yet undesignated space in the undeveloped sections, if such use subsequently interferes with Coastland’s future intended use of such space, in Coastland’s sole and exclusive opinion, the District shall remove, at its expense, and relocate, at its expense, such facilities.

The new Commissioners should be aware that the County has previously used James Johnson’s and/or Coastland’s property without permission or permit. We will not tolerate this to continue.

Any investigation needed to make sure that James Johnson and/or Coastland is fully protected should not be a James Johnson and/or Coastland expense.

It appears that you want my land, my tax money but get nothing out of this. Please reply to these concerns at your earlies convenience.
Thank you.

Coastland Corporation

cc: Dan Scanlon, County Manager
Currituck County Board of Commissioners
Ocean Sands North and Crown Point Stormwater Advisory Board

Stormwater Committee Notices Sent to Ocean Sands and Crown Point Owners – A Review

Notices sent to the Homeowners of Ocean Sands and Crown Point with links to each communication.

Click on links below for full report :

 

Stormwater Video Presentation, April 6, 2016

Stormwater Powerpoint Presentation – April 6, 2016

Report to the County on the Creation of the Ocean Sands (North) & Crown Point Stormwater Service District, March 30, 2016

District Map for legal notice

Coastland Times on Flooding in Currituck County, November 1, 2015

Stormwater Issues on the Northern Currituck County Outer Banks, October 2015 

About the Stormwater Committee, October 23, 2015

 

Stormwater Committee Video presentation mailed April 5 – Respond to the Stormwater Survey now! Your Support is Critical!

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On April 5, the Ocean Sands and Crown Point Stormwater Committee sent a video presentation to all homeowners in Ocean Sands and Crown Point. The research and findings of the committee present a strong argument for establishing a storm water service district, to undertake the work that is necessary to relieve our flooding problems. You can view it by clicking here:        Ocean Sands and Crown Point Stormwater Video Presentation

A Power Point accompanied the video presentation on April 5. It details the current situation and can be found by clicking here:
Ocean Sands And Crown Point Stormwater Presentation ppt, a companion to the Video Presentation

Also on April 5, an email entitled “Stormwater Survey” was sent to homeowners, asking support for the formation of a stormwater service district for our community.  If you haven’t responded to the survey yet, please do so before 10 pm on Monday, April 25.

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If you have NOT responded yet, PLEASE act now. The survey window will be closing very soon!

 

An Urgent Message from the Stormwater Committee

An Urgent Message from the Stormwater Committee

Since April of 2014, the Stormwater Committee has been sharing facts about the damage caused by stormwater flooding within our community.  It is critical that all homeowners understand the urgency of the situation now!

    • Ocean Sands & Crown Point soils, topography, the water table, and the “bowl” that exists between the dunes and the highway make this an issue which cannot be ignored and must be addressed with a comprehensive solution.
    • Flooding is pervasive and continuous throughout the community and everyone is potentially affected. If your home doesn’t flood, other homes around you do.
    • Streets fill with standing water, posing threat of bacteria-related and insect-borne illness. Access to many homes is limited, or impossible.
    • Owners suffer repeated expenses to repair and refurbish after each event. The community gets a reputation for flooding. Renters and potential buyers look elsewhere. Home values and rental rates suffer.

The technical engineering solution has not been determined yet. However, we do have the answer as to how to pay for and achieve that best technical answer. This is accomplished by the creation and implementation of a Stormwater Service District. Other neighboring communities have successfully utilized service districts to remediate their flooding issues. Here is how it works:

      • A Service District is administered by the county and funded by  a tax on each property’s assessed value, just like the Ocean Sands Water & Sewer District.
      • The tax paid by each owner is deductible on their individual 1040 return.
      • The Service District will operate and maintain the flood control system going forward.
      • The District has governmental immunity removing potential liability from individual owners.
      • All property owners within the boundaries of the district, without exception, will pay tax.
        (as an example: $0.05 per $100 of property value, or $224.50 per year, based on an assessed value of $449,000. This is only an estimate.)

Most importantly, the creation of a Stormwater Service District ensures that Coastland Corp. would not collect and manage our money, benefitting them financially, OR make technical decisions that don’t represent the best global solution for all!

Please watch for a detailed presentation coming in early April!

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Heavy Rainfall Hits Ocean Sands

 

Rain, very heavy at times and often accompanied by high winds, began falling on Wednesday evening February 3, and continued through Friday morning. Total rainfall measured 3.77″, according to the Southern Outer Banks Water System. These recent photos are from Sections F and I.

 

For more information and for recent posts on this topic, please choose the “Stormwater” category on the right side of this page, and be sure to go to “Corolla Stormwater” on Facebook. In addition, you can send an email to OceanSandsStormwater@gmail.com. Thanks for your support and cooperation.  

More about the Ocean Sands and Crown Point Stormwater Committee

About the Stormwater Committee

As noted in our first communication, the Stormwater Committee was formed at the April 2014 annual meeting of the Ocean Sands Property Owners Association.  Subsequently, the Crown Point POA joined the Committee.  Currently there are discussions with several other contiguous communities with varying levels of interest.

The Committee is responding to the outcry from our community for a solution to the repeated flooding of their homes, surrounding areas and local streets over many years.  Beyond the negative effects on rental activities, this standing water poses many health hazards and negatively impacts property values (after all, who wants to pay top dollar in an area that floods?).  Of course, different storms bring different effects on different properties.  Also, there are many diverse players involved with multiple, competing objectives and needs.   Due to the complexities involved, both from an engineering and a “political” standpoint, the Committee concluded that a continuous focused effort was needed to resolve the many issues related to the stormwater problem.

Mission

We all know the cause of flooding – rain storms, Nor’easters and hurricanes!  But the conditions that create or allow pervasive flooding are different and varying.  The Committee’s mission and objectives are several:

  • First, to determine the reasons why the Northern Outer Banks communities are experiencing the levels and constancy of floods.
  • Second, to identify any potential solutions that address all aspects – topographic, land use, regulatory, technical, fiscal, as well as political constraints.
  • Third, to determine the optimal resolution which takes into account the cost and financing aspects, the engineering challenges, government regulations and the needs of all constituencies.

The Committee has agreed that a major objective or, more accurately, a key responsibility, is our obligation to provide owners with an understanding of all aspects of this very complex multi-community recurring problem.

Membership

There are currently 14 Ocean Sands and Crown Point homeowner members on the Committee, plus Eric Weatherly, the county engineer, and the Coastland participants.  We are overwhelmed by how many people are willing to volunteer significant amounts of their time for such a daunting task, so we would like to introduce the Committee members to you.

Homeowner representatives:

  • Ed PenceCommittee Chair– Structural Engineer, Founding Partner and Principal of engineering firm of Stroud, Pence and Associates, Ltd.; Virginia Beach, VA.
  • Terry Anderson – Land development engineer/land use planner, Board Member Ocean Sands Water & Sewer District.
  • Linda Garczynski – Environmental consultant, retired Director of the USEPA brownfields program.
  • Karl Suter – Geotechnical engineer with 34 years of experience including groundwater, earth dams, structure foundations, and ground improvement as well as construction inspection and testing.
  • Barbara Marzetti – Board Member OS Water & Sewer District, Corolla Civic Association President & founding member, local business owner, former OSPOA Board Member.
  • Barrie McLeod – Board Member Crown Point POA, Retired Nuclear Engineer, Energy Consultant, and Mathematician.
  • Gerri Adams – Board Member Crown Point POA, teacher, jewelry appraiser, and business owner.
  • Rick Kinner – Board Member Ocean Sands POA, retired insurance executive, tax & business consultant.
  • Al Marzetti – Board Member:  Ocean Sands POA, Currituck County Economic Development Advisory Board, Corolla Education Foundation (WEVS), CFR Foundation; Corolla Magistrate, retired tax attorney.
  • Pat Riley – Board Member & Chair, OS Water & Sewer District, former Member OSPOA Board & Currituck County Planning Board.
  • Jeanne Fitzpatrick – Active member of Corolla Fire and Rescue, Friends of the Corolla Library, and the Corolla Civic Association, retired from Fannie Mae.
  • Bill Dondarski – Chemical Engineer, Retired Senior Executive in Chemical Industry.
  • Peggy Cowdrill – Retired Nurse Practitioner.
  • David Cowdrill – Retired Engineer, Ceramic Artist.

Coastland participants:

  • Bob DeFazio – OS Property Manager for Coastland, President of OSPOA
  • Braxton Hill – Attorney for Coastland Corp., Board Member of OS Water & Sewer District
  • Carlos Gomez – Engineer for Coastland
  • Jeanne Marcinko – Coastland employee, OSPOA Treasurer
  • Sara Duling – Coastland employee, OSPOA Secretary

Technical guidance & assistance provided to the Committee by Eric Weatherly, Currituck County Engineer

On-Going Activities

The Committee has been meeting monthly since the beginning of 2015, with a majority of the Committee members at each meeting in the County satellite office or the Corolla Library.  We have formed a number of subcommittees to address different aspects of this highly complex issue.  The subcommittees are having conference calls, conducting research and developing recommendations for their areas. Activities to-date include:

  • Ongoing discussions with Moffatt & Nichol following receipt of their preliminary study.
  • Dialogue started with other POA and HOA organizations to gauge interest in participating in a global solution.
  • Communicating with entities which might take our collected storm water.
  • On-going efforts to engage Coastland Corporation in arriving at a comprehensive solution.

Significant time has also been spent by numerous Committee members to put in place stop-gap measures to mitigate flooding issues caused by the recent storms (and we can’t emphasize enough just how lucky we were that Hurricane Joaquin moved out to sea).

The Stormwater Committee will continue to communicate with all owners and share news and developments about our efforts.  All of the owners and residents within our communities must be made aware of all components of this multifarious problem.  We believe that people must recognize that there are many ways they may be impacted by the pervasive flooding in the northern outer banks – not just whether they have standing water in or under their house.   In addition to damage to homes and personal property, pervasive and continual flooding impacts access to rental property, dents fair rental values and increases insurance rates.  Obviously, potential flooding conditions result in reduced property values for all.  Moreover, there is a clear and lasting impact on the appearance of our communities and the impression people have of Ocean Sands and Crown Point, not to mention the potential adverse health impacts from standing water.

Please pass this information on to your friends and neighbors as we still don’t have a complete email list of all property owners and can’t afford postal mailings.  Tell them to email:  OceanSandsStormwater@gmail.com so that we can add them to our list for future updates.  Thanks for your help and cooperation & stay tuned!

Latest Lawsuit filed by Coastland

Latest Lawsuit Filed by Coastland

You may have already received your letter from Coastland Corp. regarding its most recent litigation with the County, and how none of the homeowner board members from Ocean Sands or Crown Point would sign the form they wanted us to sign.  Simply, we believe that this ploy is another attempt by Coastland Corp. to get the POAs to help fund their litigation activities.  Both Ocean Sands and Crown Point informed them on numerous occasions that we did not agree with their plans to hire an attorney for the POA’s … but none of us were going to sign a document that Coastland foisted in front of us.  We would also note that Coastland discourteously e-mailed us this request at 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

In its letter, Coastland acts like it is being magnanimous by covering, at its own expense, the cost of objecting to the OSWSD inclusion in the lawsuit.  Well, Coastland was the party that instigated the lawsuit!  We can surmise that, if the POAs had hired lawyers, the cost of this upcoming hearing would have likely been charged to the POAs.  It is a certainty that the cost of Coastland’s mailing this letter to you – ostensibly to disparage your homeowner representatives – will be another significant cost that the POAs will be burdened with.

Also note that Coastland has created a new e-mail address that appears to be for the POA.  Your homeowner representatives do not have access to this e-mail, so it is really just another Coastland e-mail address.  However, if you agree with us that Coastland will be the sole party responsible should water rates go up, or object to the expense incurred associated with the mailing of this letter, feel free to provide that feedback to that e-mail address.

As always, you may contact your homeowner representatives (and the Governance Committee as a whole), at the following address: admin@OSHOA.org

  • Coastland sues Currituck County for monetary damages yet again on issues stemming from 1980’s vintage Settlement Agreement between the parties.
  • As the lawsuit involves the water & sewer assets, OSWSD may be brought into the litigation; a money judgement against OSWSD would trigger higher water & sewer bills.  OSWSD has independent counsel.
  • Coastland informs Ocean Sands and Crown Point POA’s that Coastland intends to hire an attorney for the POA’s.  Owner board members push back as POA’s don’t have a dog in this race and it is sensed that Coastland might use this as a way to push some of its legal expenses to the POA’s.

On June 17, 2015, Coastland filed another one of a long line of lawsuits against Currituck County and other communities in Corolla.  In brief, Coastland alleges that the County used water-related assets to provide “city water” to Corolla developments other than Ocean Sands in contravention of various Settlement Agreements between Coastland and the county and that this took away Coastland’s competitive advantage and resulted in the diminution in value of its remaining parcels in Ocean Sands.

A brief synopsis of the history follows.  In the 1970’s, Currituck County adopted the “Currituck Plan” which was hailed as a “model for future coastal development that includes respect for natural surroundings.”  This Plan contemplated centralized water and sewer service throughout the Currituck Outer Banks.  Coastland states that, while it agreed to comply with this Plan, the county did not force other developers to comply with it.  Coastland built a water treatment plant, wastewater treatment plant and associated underground piping to provide centralized water and sewer to Ocean Sands.  The water processed in the plant came from freshwater shallow-water wells.   Water that comes from deep-water wells is brackish and must be run through a reverse osmosis plant for “desalinization.”

As part of a 1987 Settlement Agreement between the parties, the County acquired the Ocean Sands’ water assets from Coastland and established a service district, Ocean Sands Water and Sewer District (OSWSD), to provide water and sewer service to Ocean Sands.  Under this Agreement, the County, through OSWSD, was obligated to obtain additional water capacity to the extent necessary to service Ocean Sands as it grew.

In 2002, the County formed SOBWS and acquired the assets of OSWSD, including $1.8 million in cash.  The water plant initially constructed by Coastland was demolished and a new, larger plant was constructed on the west side of Route 12 between the Currituck Club and TimBuck II.  This facility has both a conventional water treatment plant (used for Ocean Sands’ shallow water wells) and a reverse osmosis plant (used for SOBWS’ deep water wells).   In other words, there is one “line” in the plant that serves OSWSD and another “RO” line that serves customers outside of Ocean Sands & Crown Point. The 1987 Settlement Agreement was amended, with one of the new provisions that Coastland would not block an ocean outfall pipe.  An ocean outfall pipe is necessary to the reverse osmosis plant so that the saltwater can be flowed to the ocean.  

The ocean outfall pipe was laid through Ocean Sands (buried underground) and the RO line in the plant was completed in 2005.  In April, 2005, SOBWS commenced providing centrally-treated water to Ocean Hill, Whalehead, Corolla Village and Spindrift with water coming from the RO line.  This water comes from the reverse osmosis plant.  Ocean Sands water is provided primarily from the conventional water plant.  The parties disagree as to whether Ocean Sands water supply has ever been supplemented with reverse osmosis water.

Coastland has filed a claim for Inverse Condemnation, alleging that its natural resources – i.e., shallow-well water and the land on which the ocean outfall pipe was laid – were taken by the county without just compensation and that Coastland was also damaged by the resulting diminution in value of its Ocean Sands property.  Coastland’s complaint states that it never gave permission for the construction of the ocean outfall pipe.   Inverse Condemnation is a legal theory relating to taking of property by a governmental agency which so greatly damages the use of a parcel of real property that it is the equivalent of condemnation of the entire property.   Coastland had previously brought an Inverse Condemnation action against the county in 1984 claiming that the County’s land use regulations constituted a “taking” of Coastland’s property.  The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found that Coastland had not established the material facts necessary to establish that there was a taking of property without just compensation and dismissed Coastland’s motion for summary judgement.  This led to the 1987 Settlement Agreement.  As an editorial comment (solely the view of the author), it appears that anytime someone looks so much as sideways at any of Coastland’s property, Coastland claims that their property rights were infringed and so they must be compensated.

In the current suit, Coastland also alleges a breach of the 1987 Settlement Agreement in that the County agreed not to impair Coastland’s natural resources and that in laying the ocean outfall pipe and other actions the County breached this obligation.  The County believes that Coastland is incorrect in its reading of the 1987 Settlement Agreement.

The County’s Answer to the Complaint basically states that:

  1. Coastland’s allegation that Ocean Sands did not need the RO plant to supplement potable water requirements is incorrect;  
  2. Coastland’s interpretation of the 1987 Settlement Agreement is off base;
  3. Coastland’s allegations don’t satisfy the requirements for an Inverse Condemnation action;;
  4. Coastland failed to join a Necessary Party, the OSWSD, which owns and manages the assets which are the subject matter of Coastland’s claims; and
  5. Coastland’s action barred by the Statute of Limitations and other legal defenses all roughly noting that the facts have existed for 15 years and Coastland unreasonably delayed its suit.

Based on the various Settlement Agreements between the parties, arbitration is required before the case goes to trial.   We have heard that the selection of an arbitrator has been unduly delayed due to Coastland’s recalcitrance.  In addition, the county has filed a motion to join OSWSD into the lawsuit so that the matter can be settled with all parties involved for once and for all.  This motion will be heard at the end of January.

A note of particular relevance to Ocean Sands homeowners — Because there is the possibility of a money judgement against OSWSD Coastland sent an e-mail to the owner members of the Ocean Sands and Crown Point POAs which said Coastland believes the POAs need representation in this matter so Coastland was going to hire a lawyer to represent the POA’s and sit in on OSWSD Advisory Board meetings and conference calls, among other things.   This stemmed from the fact that the County Attorney had started joining regular OSWSD conference calls; however, the County Attorney was participating solely to instruct County employees participating the calls on matters of attorney-client privilege.  OSWSD has retained independent counsel.

Your owner members strenuously objected to this on the following grounds:  (1) POA’s will never be a party to this lawsuit and would have no standing to get involved; (2)  as such, while individual homeowners would suffer higher water rates should Coastland get a money judgement against OSWSD, the POA’s will never suffer a liability; and (3) Coastland’s announcement that it was going to hire counsel for the POAs appeared to be nothing more than a ruse to foist a portion of its litigation expenses on the POAs.   Separately, we have expressed the view that if Coastland does manage to extract a “pound of flesh” from OSWSD people won’t view the county as the “bad guy”; rather, homeowners will be looking at the party that extracted the money.  

News from the Ocean Sands Stormwater Committee!

Ocean Sands & Crown Point Stormwater Committee

visit us on Facebook at Corolla Stormwater

FINANCING ISSUES TO ADDRESS STORMWATER FLOODING

Background
The Storm Water Committee of Ocean Sands and Crown Point is evaluating the best resolution to the flooding situation in our community. There are aspects of the potential technical engineering solutions that need to be further investigated, validated and confirmed.  The Committee is also studying a number of issues in the administrative, legal and financial areas.

Of paramount importance is recognizing and understanding that our two communities have ongoing pervasive flooding problems, to which none of us is totally immune.  Even if your house hasn’t directly experienced flooding, perhaps your yard, your street or your immediate neighborhood has been flooded. This then harms your (or your renters’) ability to access the property.  The impact on property values, rental opportunities, and hassle of repeated cleanup and repairs and potentially your health is significant and costly.  There is also the standing and reputation of the community: when potential renters/visitors (or buyers) hear about ‘flooding in Ocean Sands’, they likely don’t know where it is and won’t bother to investigate further whether a particular property has flooding issues, but will simply look at another community in which to rent or buy.

Creation of a Special Service District
Regardless of the ultimate technical solution, there will be an associated cost for the needed improvements and consequently the need to figure out how to fund it. One way to fund the improvements is to create a Special Service District (more info below*) which gives the community the ability to pay for the studies, design, construction, and ongoing operation and maintenance of the chosen flood control solution.

What is a Special Service District? In brief, a special service tax district is created at the request of affected property owners and administered publicly by the County Commissioners sitting as the Board of the Service District, with guidance and input from an advisory board consisting of property owners. This is the same way the Ocean Sands Water & Sewer District operates.

How a Special Service District is Funded
Service district taxes are set annually at a rate by the service district board (on the recommendation of the advisory board) to fund the activities of the special district.  Rates are typically low in the early years when the engineering work takes place, increase during the construction phases and then decrease markedly when funds are only needed for operation and maintenance of the stormwater system.  The early years are sometimes used to build up capital to better level out rates during the construction period.  Service district taxes are fully tax deductible to the property owners.  This Service District (through County professionals) manages the long term operation and maintenance of the flood control system.  This approach was successfully utilized by our neighbors in Whalehead to fund and implement their stormwater system.  Whalehead’s system performed exceptionally well during the recent flooding events.

Moffatt &Nichol (M&N), the engineering firm that designed Whalehead’s system, did a preliminary feasibility study for Ocean Sands.  M&N also investigated potential funding streams from federal agencies but nearly all of them require costly detailed economic studies and benefit/cost analyses to receive funding.  As the project progresses, the issue of federal subsidies will be revisited.   NC Department of Transportation will also be approached for assistance with flooding problems on NC 12.

Information from the County tax office shows that the tax value of the study area (including Ocean Sands North, Coastland’s undeveloped Sections G & T, and Crown Point) is $499,323,104. Each $0.01 tax per $100 valuation would provide $49,810 per year in revenue.

The next phase of the project which includes data gathering and master plan completion is estimated to cost $220,000.  This work needs to be done before a solid cost projection for constructing a system can be developed.  Additionally, there is a near-term solution which could be put in place and used in an emergency to lower the lake and wastewater treatment system’s moats, at an estimated cost of $50,000.  Using the revenue assumptions above for these two projects would yield a stormwater district tax rate of $0.054/per hundred valuation.  On a property valued at $350,000 this would mean an additional $189 in taxes per year or roughly $0.50/day.

As noted above, rates would increase during the construction phase.  It is likely, however, that the construction of the system can be accomplished in phases, which would allow for system implementation over time. Whalehead subdivision followed this approach and has two loans that will sunset at various times. They began with a $0.02-0.03 assessment many years ago to begin studying the issue and are currently paying an assessment of $0.155 that will drop by $0.047 in 2019 and another $0.08 in 2023.

It should be recognized that there will be a $0.02-0.03 tax needed for operations and maintenance (County staff operation of system, pump replacements, system maintenance, etc.) in perpetuity for the Whalehead system. The same can be said for Ocean Sands if a similar system is chosen.  This is a cost of enhancing and maintaining property values and peace of mind.

Currituck County has experience with special districts such as the Ocean Sands Water and Sewer District (OSWSD) http://www.co.currituck.nc.us/Ocean-Sands-Water-Sewer-District.cfm as well as 5 existing stormwater service districts.

The county will create a Stormwater Service District for Ocean Sands and Crown Point when we are able to obtain support for the concept from our property owners.  Our goal is to demonstrate this by May of 2016.  This will allow for the tax component to be issued with the July tax bill; it would be listed as a separate line item like, e.g., OWSWD fees and trash collection fees.  .

All property owners within the boundaries of Ocean Sands North and Crown Point, including Coastland owned lots and undeveloped sections would share in the cost.

Other Options
We have prepared a spreadsheet comparing two different funding mechanisms:  POA special assessment vs. the Service District option.  Coastland is in favor of the private bank loan/POA special assessment funding mechanism, while the Ocean Sands Stormwater Committee and the four owner representatives on the two POA boards feel strongly that the Special District financing method is the option in the best interests of individual property owners.  You can view the spreadsheet here:  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/23058515/FINAL%20Service%20District%20vs.%20POA%20Assessments2.pdf


*OVERVIEW OF SPECIAL SERVICE DISTRICTS:
In 2008 there were 39,000 Special Purpose Districts in the US.  Currently there are nearly 300 in North Carolina.  So this is not something unique or different.  The reason for them is the reality of inadequate tax bases and competing demands for existing taxes which make it hard for cities and counties to provide all the services their citizens desire or need. When residents or landowners want new services or higher levels of existing services, they form a district to pay for them.

Service districts are allowed and defined under state law.  In North Carolina they are authorized by NCGS Chapter 130A; articles 2 or 12; Chapter 153A; Article 16; and Chapter 162A; articles 4 and 5.  In plain language, a special district is a separate local governmental entity that delivers a specific public service within defined boundaries.  Fire districts, drainage districts, sewage and waste water and pest abatement districts exist today because taxpayers are willing to pay for services they needed.

Special districts enjoy many of the same governing powers as municipalities and counties. They can enter into contracts, employ workers, and acquire real property through purchase or eminent domain.  Special districts have both corporate power and tax power.  The corporate power is the ability to “do things,” like constructing public works projects such as dams and sewers or “ground water leveling systems”.  The tax power is the authority to raise money to pay for these projects and services.  Raising funds is a primary objective of service districts and is accomplished by levying incremental tax or issuing bonds.


The Flooding & Stormwater Feasibility Study by Moffatt and Nichol is available here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/jj7hit87knz84o6/20150615%20OCEAN%20SANDS%20FINAL%20REPORT.pdf?dl=0

OR

on the “Corolla Stormwater” closed Facebook page which you are invited to join.  The Fb page has other stormwater related information as well as our previous mailings to the community.


Ocean Sands & Crown Point Flooding Pictures are here:

ERNESTOhttps://www.dropbox.com/sh/bwo7tcs79uxj0hv/AAAwi0QiSu3xFZiBT-ePPrnea?dl=0

APRIL 2015https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jncpxc92ckzru51/AABDiOCAL-KqiP7dm8OCqnNta?dl=0

OCT. 2015 Nor’easter & Joaquinhttps://www.dropbox.com/sh/hvqpf0uq0q1qnam/AADVk-2YqFMoJC7RS0biRv8la?dl=0